Jailed ex-PM Khan uses AI voice clone for Pakistan campaign.

  • Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, has utilised artificial intelligence (AI) to campaign from jail using a voice clone technology designed by ElevenLabs.
  • In prison since August due to allegations of leaking classified documents, Khan used a transcribed speech that was cast into his ‘voice’ by AI, allowing him to deliver a four-minute message during a virtual rally.
  • The virtual rally, despite internet disruptions, was watched by over 4.5 million people across multiple social platforms including Facebook and YouTube.
  • Analysts warn that AI impersonation technologies might be misused for disinformation, but in this case, it served to circumvent state suppression.
  • Pakistan’s election commission has confirmed that elections will take place on February 8th, with Khan, though no longer the leader of his party, remaining its figurehead.

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan employed artificial intelligence (AI) technology to campaign from jail. Khan, who has been incarcerated since August for alleged document leaks, used AI firm ElevenLabs’ voice clone tool to deliver a four-minute speech for a “virtual rally” for his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The PTI party transcribed Khan’s speech and converted it into audio using ElevenLab’s AI tool. Despite internet censorship attempts, the audio message reached over 4.5 million people via several social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube. The AI tool created Khan’s voice using existing speech samples provided by Khan, allaying suspicions about its authenticity.

The utilisation of AI in this way raises concerns regarding the potential misuse of the technology. Analysts have often raised alerts about the prospects of such technologies being used to disinform and impersonate leaders illegally. However, the Khan case shows how AI can also be leveraged to bypass state censorship and provide a voice to the suppressed.

Imran Khan, although no longer being the official leader of PTI, continues to be its figurehead. Pakistan’s election commission has announced that the next elections will take place on February 8th. As election day nears, it remains to be seen how the innovative use of AI will impact the outcome.